UN confirms Sudanese bombing of refugee camp in South Sudan

South Sudan
November 12, 2011 (UN News)

Sudanese military forces have bombed a refugee camp in neighbouring South Sudan, the United Nations confirmed on Friday. The bombardment by Antonov aircraft took place on Thursday targetting  Yida refugee camp in South Sudan's Unity State. "Yesterday the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) confirmed that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) dropped at least two bombs near the Yida refugee camp," Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Security Council.

According to Hilde Johnson, the head of UNMISS and the Secretary-General's Special Representative to South Sudan, two bombs fell inside the camp and three outside of it.

Yida camp, located in South Sudan's Unity state, shelters over 20,000 people who have fled increasing violence in the Sudanese states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

"It is absolutely imperative that both governments take the necessary steps to de-escalate the situation, ensure that civilian lives are protected, and resume peaceful dialogue," Mr. Ladsous said.

Though Juba accuses Khartoum of carrying out the airstrikes, Sudan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, told journalists that his (Sudanese) government had not ordered any bombings.

"There needs to be an independent, thorough and credible investigation to establish the precise circumstances of this aerial bombing. If indeed it is established that an international crime has been committed, then those responsible should be brought to justice," Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) official Navy Pillay said.


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